All is calm, all is bright: 3 easy ways to 'Christmas proof' your baby's sleep routine
There is no denying that while the festive season is all sorts of lovely, it is also, to most of us, a busy time with a flurry of activities, visits, visitors and more relaxed routines than normal.
And while we of course want to embrace all the merriment and festive feels, there is no denying that when it comes to babies and young kids, sleep can be disturbed, and we all know just how horrific a thing over-tired and underlsept children can be.
Visitors, travelling, staying away from home for the holidays, gatherings that push bedtime out – it can take its toll, but luckily, paediatric sleep expert and author of The Baby Sleep Solution and Baby Elegance ambassador Lucy Wolfe recenly shared her top tips for helping to “Christmas Proof” your child's sleep:
Decisions for festive fun
Ideally in the run up to the festive period, it’s best to have young children optimally rested. That way they will be more tolerant of changes and lost sleep. Whether this is your first Christmas with children or your family has grown in numbers, you may find that you have to make decisions about what events you can attend, how late you stay, if you travel or if you stay at home.
Ultimately you will know your own child best, but if you observe that your child is normally slow to warm up, not very adjustable or seems sensitive to being overtired then you will need to maintain your current sleep practices as much as possible. Of course, you need to have fun. But your fun could be impaired if your young child starts to resist sleep, wake frequently and become fussy with their food because they have built up a sleep debt.
Avoid big changes
I am aware that lots of parents may decide to help their child give up the dummy or the bottle by giving it to Santa, but I would proceed with caution. This is a huge adjustment and may affect everyone’s enjoyment at Christmas time and may affect their sleep ability, specifically if they are used to using the dummy or bottle at sleep time. My advice would be to save big changes like this for the New Year.
Don't stress too much
I don’t recommend that you work on your child’s sleep this time of year, unless you will be able to be home on time for bedtime, won’t miss day time sleep and if you are not planning on staying away from home, even if just for a night or two. Any of these elements will affect your efforts and may make it hard to establish different sleep practices so are best addressed in the new year.